Must-see video: Young women ride ostriches at El Cerrito greyhound track in 1934

eckc ostrich 1934

The operators of the El Cerrito Kennel Club, the greyhound racetrack that operated in the city from 1932 to early 1939, were masterful with promotions to keep the 10,000-capacity stands full. A typical evening could feature 11 races and added attractions such as boxing or wrestling matches, a post-race dance in the clubhouse or drawings for a new Plymouth.

One of the most memorable promotions came in 1934, the track’s third year of operation, when the attractions included a drawing for a Plymouth sedan, a race featuring the “famous Hollywood monkey jockeys” riding greyhounds in a race (and presumably wearing jockey silks), and the main attraction, “pretty girls riding the famous racing ostriches.”

The ad for the day is pictured here, but now — thanks to youtube and a company called Critical Past — there is video online of old film footage showing young ladies jumping onto the ostriches and holding on for dear life as the birds run around the track. If you look closely in the background, you can catch a glimpse the historic 1907 Pierre Allinio house, which is now for sale.

Another attraction at the El Cerrito dog track pitted ostriches against race horses, but no video of that event has surfaced … yet.


Richmond fundraiser being held April 29 to support family of slain officer


The Richmond Police Officers Association is hosting a fundraiser on April 29 at Salute Restaurant to assist the family of Officer Gus Vegas, who was fatally shot Feb. 11 at his home in Vallejo. The announcement for the fundraiser is below.


On February 11th, 2016, Augustine “Gus” Vegas, a City of Richmond Police Officer was murdered at his home. Officer Vegas was the sole provider for his family, which included 10 children and 20 grandchildren. He served the City of Richmond and its citizens for over 15 years. He was a diligent and kind police officer.

Salute’s Restaurant owner, Menbere Akilulu, Mechanics Bank and the Richmond Police Officers Association have collaborated to provide a fundraiser for Augustine’s family. Please stop by and enjoy wine and appetizers provided by our own Richmond businesswoman, Menbere Akilulu. The event is on Friday, April 27th, between 4-7 PM. 100 Percent of all other sales during this time will be donated to the Vegas family. Hope to see you there!


TBT: Once-familiar El Cerrito building had a link to black Americana

spring chicken

Winner, winner, chicken dinner —
Here is the ID of the once-familiar building in El Cerrito and its background, which we asked about last week. The building is best known (see photo above) from its decades attached to El Cerrito Mill & Lumber, with the lettering growing more faded as the years passed.

The building originated around 1929-30 as Mammy’s Place, a plantation-themed attraction for travelers on the newly rerouted Lincoln Highway (San Pablo Avenue), just south of Cutting Boulevard, “near the large Carquinez Bridge sign,” according to the menus given out to customers as a souvenir. The proprietor was Harry Bottger, who may have also operated the food concession on the Richmond-San Rafael ferry.
Mammy’s Place boasted a “fine hardwood dance floor and music,” though the establishment once ran afoul of the authorities over the use of its jukebox, according to news accounts of the day.
Bottger later opened another restaurant on the southern end of San Pablo in El Cerrito and Mammy’s closed.
With demand for housing at a peak during World War II, contractor Elmer Freethy purchased what was then El Cerrito Lumber at 1206 San Pablo Ave. (now 10812 San Pablo Ave.) from John Carrick to secure a supply of building materials. At some undetermined point, he also purchased the abandoned Mammy’s Place building and had it moved and attached to El Cerrito Lumber. There was a sentimental attachment. Freethy, in a 1990 interview about the “chicken dinner” building, referred to it as “the chicken shack,” and said he had purchased and moved the building because he used to take his future wife dancing there.
Elmer and Marjorie Freethy were married in 1930 and he started his contracting business the next year, according to an El Cerrito Wall of Fame profile in the city newsletter. One of his early big contracts was construction of El Cerrito High School from 1939-41.
The old chicken dinner building was torn down when El Cerrito Mill & Lumber underwent a major remodel by Elmer’s son, Jack Freethy, in 1996 as noted in this earlier post. The business, which had grown over time to include major portions of several blocks, closed in 2000 and the remodeled original El Cerrito Lumber building, redesigned in Victorian style, was moved across San Pablo and is now the Vitale Building.
Mammy’s Place is long gone and even though original owner Bottger was of European extraction, those free menus once given out to travelers are now rare and prized pieces of black Americana. A menu listed on eBay about in 2011 sold for more than $120.
Elmer Freethy died in 1998. Marjorie Freethy, a native of Point Richmond, died in 2013 at age 105.



elmer freethy el cerrito lumber
Elmer Freethy at El Cerrito Lumber.


Wayback Wednesday: Miss America visits El Cerrito in 1974

miss america 1974

Rebecca Ann King, the reigning Miss America, signs autographs at the Value Giant in the Moeser Lane Center in El Cerrito in 1974. King earned a law degree with her scholarship money from the pageant. Our thanks to the El Cerrito Chamber of Commerce for these photos from its archives.

moeser lane center
The still-new Moeser Lane Center in the 1970s, when it was home to Safeway, Value Giant and the Jerry Lewis Theatre, a short-lived movie house visible at the right.

El Cerrito had its own national pageant winner when Maria Remenyi was named Miss USA in 1966.


El Cerrito encourages community to attend update, discussion on possible hate crime

El Cerrito issued the following announcement today on a presentation and discussion to be held Wednesday regarding the Feb. 24 incident being investigated as a hate crime:

El Cerrito, CA: El Cerrito Mayor Greg Lyman is inviting community members to attend the City’s Human Relations Commission meeting on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 in response to an arson incident that the El Cerrito Police Department are investigating as a race-based hate crime.

At the Human Relations Commission meeting, community members can hear a presentation by the Police Department about the investigation and the City’s ongoing response to this incident, as well as participate in a discussion about demonstrating community solidarity against intolerance.

Mayor Lyman said, “I was disturbed to learn a family in our community were victims of an alleged race-based hate crime last week. This unfortunate incident is not in character with the El Cerrito community and provides an opportunity to highlight our community’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.”

“The El Cerrito Police Department is actively investigating this regrettable incident and has requested assistance from the community,” Lyman continued.

The alleged incident occurred early in morning on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 and the Police Department has asked any El Cerrito residents in the area of Arlington Boulevard with video surveillance systems to review their video for any vehicles, bicycles or pedestrians active between the hours of 1:30 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. Anyone with possible information about the case is asked to contact the El Cerrito Police Department at 510-215-4400 or investigations@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us.

Human Relations Commission Meeting Details:
Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
Council Chambers, City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito CA 94530
Agenda link: http://www.el-cerrito.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2558


Richmond Black History Month presentation Tuesday will revisit forgotten men of war era tragedy

richond blaze 01 10 1944

The Richmond City Council meeting on Tuesday will mark Black History Month with what promises to be a poignant presentation by National Park Sevice ranger Betty Reid Soskin on eight men who worked at the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond and died in a fire in a war worker housing dormitory in January of 1944.
While it made headlines at the time, the fire and its victims had been forgotten in the ensuing decades until Soskin was studying a photograph of the time that set off an investigation to uncover a neglected part of the city’s history.
According to a news release:

The genesis of this effort began in 2010 when Rosie The Riveter’s oldest and most famous staff member — National Park Ranger Betty Reid Soskin — was looking over a familiar picture of funeral services in the “Negro” section of the then-segregated National Cemetery in San Bruno of what park officials had long thought were the caskets of eight of the more than 200 African-American sailors who died in the munitions ship explosion at Port Chicago in 1944.”
Although she had seen the photograph many times before, she said that she had “never noticed it before [and the] impact was almost painful. Though this was a solemn military burial rite … the caskets were not flag draped.”
Soskin set out to discover why those eight black Navy sailors might have been so dishonored. Months of historical detective work by Park staff and associates turned up the discovery that there had been no dishonor at all, because the remains in the casket were not Navy sailors at all.
Instead, they were the remains of eight civilian African American shipyard workers, one of them only 17 years old, who died in a dormitory fire at the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond six months before the Port Chicago tragedy.
The site where the Kaiser dormitory burned is now a collection of warehouses at South 11th Street and Potrero in Richmond, less than a mile from the Rosie The Riveter Visitors Center. No marker of what Soskin calls “the awful event” currently marks that spot. Rosie The Riveter Park officials are hoping that their proposal for a memorial to the eight Kaiser dormitory deaths on that site will start the process of both recognizing and honoring the American civilians who gave their lives supporting the war effort in this country.

The presentation is at the top of the agenda for the meeting at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in the council chamber at 440 Civic Center Plaza. The meeting will also be televised on city channel KCRT.

Below are the item on the City Council agenda on Tuesday and Oakland Tribune coverage of the fire.


    STATEMENT OF THE ISSUE: Black History Month occurs each February as an annual observance for remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. This presentation honors the lives of eight African-Americans who were killed in a deadly fire in Richmond during the World War II. RECOMMENDED ACTION: RECEIVE a presentation for Black History Month regarding the Dormitory O Fire in Richmond, which claimed the lives of eight African-American Home Front workers in Richmond during World War II. FINANCIAL IMPACT: There are no financial impacts related to this item. DISCUSSION: National Park Service Ranger Betty Reid Soskin recently uncovered the forgotten story of eight African-American men who worked in the Richmond Kaiser Shipyards and were killed in a devastating dormitory fire. The location of the fire is less than a mile from Dr. Martin Luther King Park on Harbour Way South and Virginia Avenue. Remembering this tragedy is important to Richmond’s history, because it honors the lives of black men and others who answered our nation’s call to service by working on the Home Front.

Oakland Tribune, Jan. 10, 1944:

8 Die, 20 Hurt in Richmond Fire
Firemen Aid in Rescue of 30 as Shipyard
Dormitory Is Razed; Watchman’s
Shots Rouse Sleepers, Coll Fire Engines

RICHMOND, Jan. 10—At least eight Negro shipyard workers were burned to death early today and score of others were injured when fire swept through Dormitory O, a war housing building at South Eleventh Street and Potrero Avenue.
At least 30 others were saved from death or injury by an alert patrolman who fired shots in the air to awaken them when he discovered “lames pouring from the structure at 2:10 a.m.
The eight who lost their lives were burned beyond recognition, and housing authorities said they probably could not be identified until all of the men mown to have been in the building are accounted for. It is feared there may be more bodies in the smoking ruins.
Five bodies were found when the blaze was brought under control and three more were discovered in the embers later.
The two-story frame structure burned mrncd to the ground in less than two hours. Fire Chief William Cooper said there never was chance to save it.
His men were handicapped in trying to fight the blaze, he reported, because two hydrants in the immediate vicinity were too rusty to be used and because water pressure in the area was very low. The hydrants, the chief pointed out, are the responsibility of the Federal Projects Housing Corporation, which erected the dormitories with Maritime Commission funds.
One of the injured workers, Henry Manney, 17, is in a critical condition it the Permanente Foundation Hospital in Oakland. He is burned badly on the arms and legs and may not live.
One fireman, J. E. Nelson, stepped on a nail and cut his foot. He was given emergency treatment and an anti-tetanus shot and sent back to duty.
Almost immediately, sleepy residents of the dormitory were jumping from windows or fighting their way through the fire at the doors. Most of them were clad only in underwear or night clothes and were barefoot.
The seven who died either didn’t awaken when the shots were fired, or were unable to get out of their rooms.
The shots also aroused firemen at a city fire station a block away.
They saw the flames shooting up from the building and rang in an alarm for more apparatus.
Three engine companies responded from their station and another came from the main fire station at Fifth Street and Macdonald Avenue. The entire building was blazing by the time they arrived.


Richmond: Plan for airport at Point Isabel never got off the ground 50 years ago

Before the Point Isabel proposal, an airport was proposed off of Berkeley in 1945. (San Francisco Public Library History Center)

point isabel airport 10 1966a

If a plan first raised in 1966 had flown with regulators, there might have been an airport for small aircraft along the Bay in Richmond where dogs now frolic, strollers and bicyclists take in Bay views and UC Berkeley is planning its global campus.
The proposal for the Point Isabel airport between Point Isabel and Brooks Island surfaced in the summer of 1966 and was largely embraced by business leaders in Richmond as beneficial to local commerce and the region as a whole. Had the proposal been made 10 years earlier, it might have flown. But plans to fill 225 acres of mudflats now had to go before the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the regulatory panel established in 1965 as a result of the activism of the the Save San Francisco Bay Association (later Save the Bay).
The airport proposal was exactly the type of project Save the Bay tried to halt, but it wasn’t for lack of trying by the idea’s promoters.
The City Councils in Albany, Berkeley and El Cerrito all went on record in opposition, with Kay Kerr, one of the three founders of Save the Bay and the wife of UC Berkeley President Clark Kerr, speaking against the project before the El Cerrito council.

point isabel airport 10 1966

The plan did get as far as being submitted to the BCDC for consideration, but discussion was postponed a few times and the notion ultimately ran out of steam.

On Nov. 16 the Oakland Tribune reported that Berkeley had officially stated its opposition to the project:

The council also went on record as opposing the proposed Richmond Airport in the bay between Point Isabel and Brooks Island. The project, which is to come before the Bay Conservation and Development Commission on Friday, would require
filling 225 acres in two stages.
The council opposed the project because it would create a noise problem and commit a major portion of the Eastbay shoreline before a regional plan could be drawn up. Councilmen also noted that regional plans call for inland rather than bay airports.

On Nov. 19 the Tribune reported that “BCDC took no action at this time on a request by the city of Richmond for an ‘advisory opinion’ on a proposed airport construction at Point Isabel which would involve filling 225 acres of tidelands. The project would serve small planes.”

A man readies to throw a ball for his dog to fetch while enjoying the sunset at Point Isabel Regional Shoreline in Richmond, Calif. on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011.  (Dean Coppola/Staff)

A man readies to throw a ball for his dog to fetch while enjoying the sunset at Point Isabel Regional Shoreline in Richmond, Calif. on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011. (Dean Coppola/Staff)


Throwback Thursday: Bowling was still a big West County attraction in 1977

lucky lanes 1977023

We’ve written here before about the bowling alleys of West County, in this post and this one. Not to mention this one and this one.

This time out we’re looking back almost 40 years to bowling alley ads and advertorial copy that appeared in the Richmond Independent “Progress Edition” of 1977. Bowling was still quite popular, and Lucky Lanes in San Pablo, Golden Gate Lanes in El Cerrito and Albany Bowl were represented in the edition. (Uptown Bowl in Richmond did not advertise in the edition.) Only Albany Bowl and Pinole Valley Lanes are still operating in the area today. Can anyone tell us what the “Moon Walk” was at Lucky Lanes?

lucky lanes 1977021a

golden gate lanes 1977026

albany bowl 1977028


Richmond schedule for King holiday event revised due to weather

Organizers have revised plans for the annual day of Service on Jan. 18 for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
The following announcement was sent out this weekend:

Scaled back Martin Luther King Day of Service in Richmond due to anticipated rain

Richmond, CA. Due to rain forecast for Monday, Friends of the Richmond Greenway (FORG) decided to modify plans for the 9th annual Martin Luther King Day of Service on Monday.

The noontime program with speakers and performances has been cancelled, and there will be no kid’s zone activities.

Projects and activities will focus around mulching, weeding, and some planting, Coffee/pastries in the morning and a hot soup lunch will be provided for volunteers.

All are welcome—wear layers and rain gear!!

What: 9th Annual Martin Luther King Day of Service
Who: Friends of the Richmond Greenway (FORG) and City of Richmond
Where: 8th and 16th Streets on the Richmond Greenway (between Ohio and Chanslor)
When: Monday, January 18, 2016, 9:00 am – 12:00noon


Richmond commission announces community art grants

Eighteen proposals out of 28 applications that were submitted were accepted for neighborhood public art mini-grants, the Richmond Arts & Culture Commission announced this week.
Here is the announcement with details on the projects receiving portions of the $84,000 in funding:

Richmond Arts & Culture Commission Announces 2016 Community Art Grants

The Richmond Arts & Culture Commission (RACC) selected eighteen community art activists for the FY 2016 Neighborhood Public Art (NPA) Mini-Grants. Twenty-eight applicants made grant proposal presentations to the commission on October 29th and November 5th and eighteen finalists were selected on Dec. 3. The 2016 grantees represent a wide range of innovative, creative new voices in Richmond with projects ranging from visual arts, media, literary arts, murals, and more.

Funding in the amount of $84,000 is being provided by the City of Richmond’s General Fund, and a Community Development Block Grant thus demonstrating Richmond’s commitment to investing in local arts. . The City of Richmond established its public art program in 1987, and its Neighborhood Public Art community grant program in 1997. This year’s grants were awarded to the following projects:

1. Visual Arts: “Freedom’s Expressions: What Was Before and What is Now”

Project Manager: Rebecca Brown

This will be a participatory project joining formerly incarcerated people, their family members, and a professional artist into a Core Artistic Team to create a focal piece of artwork that will be permanently installed at the new Reentry Success Center, 912 Macdonald Avenue at 9th Street in downtown Richmond.

2. Performing Arts: “Fairytale: A Richmond Cinderella Story”
Project Manager: Molly Raynor
This theater production will be an adaptation of the classic Cinderella story – Richmond style. It will combine mixed media with live performance, using film clips of visuals, spoken word, theater, music, dance, and visual art. Cast members will write their own poems and songs, choreograph their own dances, and create visual art based on themes laid out in the original screenplay. Participants will engage in workshops on the script theme, and interview community members to gather stories.
3. Literary Arts: “The Scribbler Artist”
Project Manager: Tatiana Ortiz
Ms. Ortiz will work with Richmond elementary schools where participating students will write and illustrate their own books for publication. She will go into classrooms to teach students how to conceptualize their own book, write it, and illustrate it. Each student’s book will be sent to a publishing company and the students will have them back in a month. A book dedication reception will be held to honor each child for his/her work. The project is meant to encourage reading and to develop interest in art and writing.
4. Media Arts: “QWOCMAP Film & Freedom Academy”
Project Manager: Kebo Drew
The QWOCMAP Film & Freedom Academy will be a free intensive filmmaking workshop providing professional training, equipment and coaching. It will teach emerging filmmakers concrete technical skills, tangible artistic knowledge, and applied leadership tools. Participants will create 3-5 new films in an environment welcoming LGBTQ people of color. The project is in partnership with Richmond Rainbow Pride.
5. Visual Arts: “The Peace Dove Project”

Project Manager: Keiko Nelson

Ms. Nelson will implement her 2nd NPA grant to install her Peace Dove Project in Richmond. Students, clients of NIAD, the mayor, community members at local events, and residents from Shimada, Japan (our Sister City) have all painted several hundred 5” x 8” “peace doves” designed by the artist. Each dove has a unique, decorative image and a message of peace. All the doves will be collected, and hung in a public art installation in the lobby of the Richmond Memorial Auditorium.

6. Media Arts/Visual Arts: “The Storyteller Project”
Project Manager: Lisa Foote
This project will create a semi-permanent, kinetic mini-mural in a high-traffic, public space. The project will involve a series of community members’ portraits printed on ceramic tiles, and place permanently on a wall to create a mural of local faces. Youth and senior citizens will be paired together for a dialogue on video, sharing personal stories that define each of them. They will then photograph each other, and those photos will be used for the mural.
7. Visual Arts/Crafts: “9th Street Park Mosaic Project”
Project Manager: Daryl Henline/Linda Whitmore
This project will engage Santa Fe Neighborhood’s elementary school students in creating 142 individual 6” mosaic decorative medallions for the fence surrounding the park at 6th Street and Virginia Avenue. Mosaic artist, Daud Abdullah will go into local classrooms lead the students in the design process, providing materials and doing the final installation. Each student will complete a worksheet describing his/her piece. Santa Fe Neighborhood council will host a Saturday open house at the playground to celebrate the students’ work and their schools.
8. Performing Arts: “Assemblies in the Schools”
Project Manager: Eugene Rodriguez
This grant will support five separate student assemblies in Richmond schools in the WCCUSD. The assemblies will include concerts and interactive arts learning activities in traditional and popular Mexican music and dance. Prior to the assemblies, teachers will receive study guides with lessons tying Performing Arts Standards and students’ personal experience to the traditional Mexican art forms at the assemblies. Performances will be done by members of Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy, serving Richmond and San Pablo for more than 20 years.
9. Literary Arts/Visual Arts: “Richmond’s Little Free Libraries”
Project Manager: Cristal Banagan
The “Richmond Little Free Libraries” (LFL) project will use their 2nd NPA grant to continue building, designing and installing more small, freestanding LFLs in areas of Richmond that are not near public libraries or Bookmobile services. Local community members will learn construction and art skills, and will decorate each LFL with their own designs. The LFLs will be stocked with used books, and “stewards” will replenish them on a regular basis. The LFLs will encourage reading and literacy at the neighborhood level for both children and adults.
10. Media Arts: “Richmond Rides, a Photo Cyclist Project”
Project Manager: Josue Hernandez
Funded by an NPA grant last year, Josue Hernandez documented over 40 bicyclists in and around Richmond through photographs and interviews, assisted by participants who currently have little to no skills in photography. The resulting exhibit was so successful that he wanted to take it to the next step. This year Josue will work with a professional videographer to document Richmond’s vibrant, emerging bicycle culture.
11. Visual Arts: “We Are Richmond”

Project Manager: Erick Morales

This is a mural project designed to project unity, freedom, and family/neighborhood unification. Artist Erick Morales began mural painting in Guatemala, and came to the US in 2002. His goal is to inspire youth and elders to celebrate life through his mural. He will target youth not currently participating in other youth programs. The theme of the mural is to reflect Richmond as a city of diverse cultures, ethnicities, colors, foods, and music – and celebrate them all. He hopes his project will create unity, discourage racism, and bring people together.

12. Visual Arts: “Young Designers Group”

Project Manager: James Shorter

Project manager, James Shorter and his team of artists will offer the opportunity for youth 15-20 years to join their Young Designers Group workshops. Areas of focus will be: design & apparel; photography & video; spoken word & public speaking; and drawing & painting. The goal is to create future artistic business professionals by introducing youth skills in photography, videography, painting, drawing, poetry, fashion design, and more. Upon completing the workshop, participants will present what they have learned at a celebratory community event.

13. Visual Arts: “Organic Shapes Wall Art”

Project Manager: Ronald Blodgett

This is a mural project consisting of organic shapes and pastel colors that will adorn the outer walls of the Bayview Library and surrounding brick wall. A portion of the mural will include a positive quote written by artist Ronald Blodgett, and its style will complement the existing mural in the Youth Computer Room in Crescent Park’s Multi-Cultural Center, entitled “We’re the Future”. Blodgett hopes his project will reveal the hidden talent of Crescent Park, and he believes that culture is the sum of positive expression of thought, love and art.

14. Literary/Performing/Media Arts: “Digital Storytellers”

Project Manager: Kevin Holmes

The mission of Digital Storytellers is to engage under-served youth in becoming a generation of inter-culturally informed, technologically skilled, outspoken and creative leaders. They will do this by learning how to harness the power of media through innovative tools in writing, choreography, poetry, art, and video. Participating schools will be Richmond and Kennedy High Schools, Making Waves Academy, and RYSE Youth Center. Students will work with artist mentors during workshops over a four-month period. A project showcasing youth will be written, choreographed, and created by youth.

15. Visual Arts: “An Installation on Wheels: Cinco de Mayo Floats”

Project Manager: Rebeca Garcia-Gonzalez

The goal of this project is to acquaint Richmond families with the arts by having them design, create and install a float for the Cinco de Mayo parade. Local families will be recruited to attend a once-a-week class over ten weeks. They will learn the history of the holiday, and will receive instruction in collaborative design, drawing, construction, budgeting, and use of materials. The bilingual class is free to the families, and offered at two locations: The Latin Center, and Richmond High School. Teens will earn community service credit, and the float will use recycled materials.

16. Visual Arts: “Inner Peace – A Richmond Community Mural Project”

Project Manager: Ross Holzman

This will be a large-scale community mural project at a prominent location in downtown Richmond. It will engage people on the street and invite local groups and prominent members of the community to the process of creating an “Inner Peace” mural together. This will be an organic process where participants will “freely express themselves” on the wall. The question: “How do we create peace?” will be asked before painting begins. Painting instruction will be provided.

17. Literary: “The Richmond Anthology of Poetry (RAP)”

Project Manager: Daniel Ari

The RAP project will be a vehicle to presenting, publicizing and preserving the voices of Richmond’s poets. Through the art of poetry, an art form that can create soulful connections between people whose lives may appear very different, Richmond residents can come to better understand each other. Participants will create a book of poetry that will be on sale to the public. Participants will submit 2-4 poems each, and will be inclusive of race, gender, and age. The goals of the project are to honor and share the diverse voices of Richmond, and to add to the cultural depth of the city.

18. Literary/Visual Arts: “Senior-Youth Connections Through Art & Correspondence”

Project Manager: Lauren Ari

Through letter writing, art making, and sharing, this project will give cross-generational participants a way to meet and share their stories through a collaborative, creative project. Under the direction of local artist Lauren Ari, participants will generate a selection of letters, ceramic bowls, and photos of the project that will be shared with the community through displays at City Hall, the Richmond Art Center, and senior community centers.

Each grant recipient will each be assigned a liaison from the Arts & Culture Commission or the Public Art Advisory Committee. That individual will serve as an advisor throughout the duration of their project to help with the budget, timeline, outreach, promotion, and other issues. Grantees will complete their projects by August 31, 2016, working with the art commission as the oversight body. The projects will have different completion dates, but there will be an exhibition highlighting all of them in fall of 2016.